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 BURLINGAME, Calif., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Aviron, an emerging biopharmaceutical company based on disease prevention, announced that it has raised $15 million in a private round of venture financing. Leighton Read, M.D., founder, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Forces already in motion will make prevention a major business opportunity because competition among health care products will be played out on the field of cost effectiveness. For decades, vaccines targeting children and adults have served as examples of the highest possible value for money invested in our health care system."
 Investors in this financing include Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Accel Partners, Abingworth Management Limited, ARCH Venture Fund, BEA Associates, Brinson Partners and Advent International. The initial seed funding was provided in 1992 by IVP, ARCH Development Corp. and a small group of experienced biotechnology investors.
 Aviron was founded in April 1992 by three leading academic scientists, Peter Palese, Ph.D., Bernard Roizman, Sc.D., and Richard Whitley, M.D., and Read to apply new technologies to the discovery and development of safe and effective live virus vaccines. Francis Cano, Ph.D., is president and chief operating officer. Cano joined Aviron in 1993 from Lederle Praxis Biologics, where he was vice president and general manager. "I left one of the world's largest vaccine manufacturers to join Aviron because I believe this company is working on the most important portfolio of new vaccine products anywhere," explained Cano. "As evidenced by the current products for polio, measles, mumps and rubella given to every child in the United States, live attenuated vaccines work, and our new genetic engineering approach offers a highly feasible way to develop new vaccines that have eluded research efforts to date."
 The president's proposed Health Security Act of 1993 guarantees coverage of preventive care including immunizations for all Americans. This new emphasis is highlighted in the summary released by the White House on Sept. 22, 1993: "Prevention will improve the quality of care by helping people stay healthy rather than treating them after they get sick. Prevention saves money and improves people's health."
 Aviron's research is directed towards prevention of diseases which warrant vaccination of the entire population. These include the major remaining childhood virus infections; the major infectious cause of birth defects; and influenza, which is the major infectious cause of death in the elderly. In 1985, the Institute of Medicine determined that these infections accounted for more than $6.6 billion in direct health care costs ($12 billion in 1993 dollars.) Each of Aviron's vaccine programs is identified by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease as a priority for vaccine research for the near term. Specifically, the company is currently developing vaccines against influenza, herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, cytomegalovirus and varicella zoster virus.
 New Generation of Vaccines
 Aviron's core strategy is to apply genetic engineering techniques to create a new generation of live vaccines to prevent viral diseases. Live vaccines have been proven to work and have been in use for many decades, and their safety can be well characterized, as evidenced by the successful childhood vaccines. However, there remains a great unmet need because classical vaccine technology and subunit and inactivated vaccines have failed to prevent many important infections and antiviral drugs are not expected to bring the major viral infections under control.
 A successful live vaccine produces infection without causing disease. The advantage of a live vaccine is that it stimulates a powerful antigenic signal to the immune system that mimics the presence of antigens seen in natural infections. Most other vaccine approaches require the use of chemical adjuvants to approximate the protection achieved in natural infections. The development of safe and effective adjuvants is an area of intense research that has met with mixed success to date.
 Recent progress in molecular virology has opened the door to a new paradigm for the creation of many new and more effective live vaccines. It is now possible to speak of rational vaccine design, in which known virulence proteins are deleted or modified, in order to attenuate a naturally occurring virus. No adjuvants are necessary to stimulate a strong antigenic response. With the help of its founding scientists, Aviron has assembled a significant intellectual property portfolio and the talented scientists needed to produce a number of highly attractive live vaccines.
 The Founding Scientists
 Peter Palese, Ph.D., is professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He developed the first successful strategy for making genetically engineered influenza viruses, a fundamental development that has opened up major new avenues of research in this field. His research group has been responsible for developing a genetic map for influenza virus, elucidating the function of viral proteins, and the creation of genetically engineered influenza strains.
 Bernard Roizman, Sc.D., is the Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of the Departments of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. His laboratory created the first viable genetically engineered large DNA viruses and pioneered the use of herpesvirus as a vector. He has trained many of the leading herpesvirus researchers and is considered the foremost expert on the molecular biology of herpes simplex viruses.
 Richard Whitley, M.D., is professor of pediatrics, microbiology, and medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham and vice chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. He has obtained preeminent recognition as a scholar in clinical virology and as an interpreter of modern virology to clinicians. Whitley has conducted pharmacologic or clinical studies for most of the approved anti-herpes drugs and is chairman of the NIH Data Monitoring and Safety Committee for AIDS therapy.
 Scientific Advisory Board
 Aviron has seven leading scientists in the field of virology and infectious disease who actively participate as members of the Scientific Advisory Board, in addition to its scientific founders. From Stanford University School of Medicine are members Ann Arvin, M.D., Harry Greenberg, M.D., and Edward Mocarski Jr., Ph.D. Additional members include Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University; Elliott Kieff, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard University; John Skehel, Ph.D., FRS of the National Institute of Medical Research in London and Max Wilhelm, Ph.D., recently retired director of worldwide R&D at Ciba Geigy in Basel.
 J. Leighton Read, M.D., is chairman and chief executive officer. He was a co-founder of Affymax N.V., serving initially as chief operating officer and later as president of the Pharma Division and managing director of the parent company. He is a board certified internist whose research career at Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health dealt with the cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals.
 Francis Cano, Ph.D., is president and chief operating officer. He joined Aviron in 1993 from Lederle Praxis Biologics, the vaccine division of American Cyanamid, where he was vice president and general manager. He began his career as a research microbiologist; had a major role in development of vaccines for pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza and holds patents on both vaccines. In his 20-year career at Lederle, he managed the functions of research, development, quality assurance, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, business development and marketing. Cano served on expert committees for the NIH, WHO, The Institute of Medicine, and the Children's Vaccine Initiative.
 Aviron occupies approximately 15,000 square feet of office and laboratory space in Burlingame, close to the San Francisco International Airport. The company employs 35 employees, including 14 Ph.D.s.
 For additional literature regarding the company and its research programs, please contact Debra Bannister 415-696-9115.
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 /CONTACT: Debra Catz Bannister of Aviron, 415-696-9115

CO: Aviron ST: California IN: MTC SU:

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Date:Nov 30, 1993

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